Plasma neurofilament light significantly decreases following treatment in Lyme neuroborreliosis and is not associated with persistent symptoms

Helene Mens*, Lasse Fjordside, Rosa Gynthersen, Mathilde Ørbaek, Åse Bengaard Andersen, Ulf Andreasson, Kaj Blennow, Finn Sellebjerg, Henrik Zetterberg, Anne-Mette Lebech

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Currently there is an unmet need for a highly standardized blood biomarker test to monitor treatment response in Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB). Differentiating between active or past infection is challenged by the relatively high frequency of persistent symptoms after the end of antibiotic treatment (estimated 15%-20%), the variable clinical course and the long-lasting Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies. The aim was therefore to evaluate plasma neurofilament light chain (pNfL) as a marker for disease activity in LNB.

METHODS: This was a prospective cohort of definite LNB (N = 36) with blood samples and clinical evaluation including Glasgow Outcome Score at treatment initiation and 3 and 6 months' follow-up. Consecutive plasma was retrospectively analysed for the content of neurofilament light chain by Quanterix® kits (Simoa® NF-light Kit).

RESULTS: Plasma neurofilament light chain significantly decreased between treatment initiation and the 3-month follow-up (median 83 pg/ml vs. median 14 pg/ml (25 pairs), p < 0.0001). No significant change was observed between 3 and 6 months' follow-up (median 14 pg/ml vs. median 12 pg/ml (21 pairs), p = 0.33). At treatment initiation 90% had pNfL above the age-defined reference compared to only 23% and 7% respectively at 3 and 6 months' follow-up. Decreases in pNfL were mirrored by increasing Glasgow Outcome Score. Reporting persistent symptoms at the 6-month follow-up was not associated with pNfL (relative change from reference or actual values) at baseline or at 6 months' follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Plasma neurofilament light chain decreases following antibiotic treatment in LNB and is not associated with reporting persistent symptoms. It was therefore speculated that it may prove useful as a treatment response biomarker in LNB.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1371-1377
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intermediate Filaments
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis/drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • neurofilament light chain
  • biomarker
  • neuroinflammation
  • Lyme neuroborreliosis
  • persistent symptoms


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